At Caroline's therapy center, there is a waterbed.

It's a genuine disco era waterbed.  The kind you'd have right next
to your lava lamp.

Caroline, of course, adores it.  At least once a week, she insists
we sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" and various other preschool
ditties as she floats along, probably reminiscing about the good
ole' days in early intervention.

Last week, when her sleeping was nothing short of horrific, we
almost wondered if we should start searching Craigs List.

Could a waterbed be the magic sleep bullet?  Maybe, but this
household didn't find out.  Besides, as you can see in the photo,
it's slightly more excitatory than calming.

Finding Answers

Still needing a sleep solution, I turned my research to specific
nootropics that have drowsiness as a side effect.

No 'O Tropics --
not a term coined to indicate there's no warm
weather in Ireland
-- are a class of "smart" supplements,
nutraceuticals, foods and drugs that boost mental functions.

If you're wondering more about what Nootropics are, there's a
website for that: "
What are Nootropics?"

Cognition, memory, intelligence, motivation, attention, and
concentration all stand to improve with nootropics.  

Ummmm...SOLD!

They work in a variety of ways. Either by altering the availability of
the brain's supply of neurochemicals (neurotransmitters, enzymes,
and hormones), stimulating nerve growth, or improving the brain's
oxygen supply (some say similar to hyperbaric oxygen).

Bacopa

I searched the nootropic list for those with drowsiness as a side
effect and settled on the herb, Bacopa.

Benefits: lowers anxiety, improves memory, helps focus
Side Effects: possible drowsiness
Dosage: 100 mg - 300 mg once or twice per day

Jackpot!

And it delivered just what it promised.

She is sleeping better, more focused, reads aloud faster and
seems less anxious.

The changes happened within an hour.  We can also give it during
the day and it doesn't seem to make her drowsy.

So although it's only been 5 days, 4 blissful nights of sleep with
Bacopa on our team are priceless.

Next Up

Inspired by the list of nootropics,  Piracetam will be next.

Benefits: improves multiple aspects of cognition
Side Effects: no side effects at safe doses
Dosage: 800 - 1600 mg, two or three times a day

Of course, we're saving it until after the AutismOne conference
later this week.  At which point, we'll probably have a long list of
ideas to try for the upcoming "Summer of Biomed."

If you could use inspiration or ideas... you can't go wrong with the
AutismOne conference.  And if attending isn't an option, there's
live streaming video.

No time to view it live? The video recordings will be posted after
the conference, so check the
schedule of events to select your
favorite topics.

            
Satisfied Customers

In the end, leaving the water bed as a novelty in the occupational
therapy room was the right decision for all.

We'll certainly be repeat buyers of Bacopa.  Stay tuned for our
adventures with Piracetam and others from the Nootropic List.

Perhaps it'll become our biomedical version of a summer reading
program.


                             ******************


NOTE:  When we increased Caroline's dose past 50 mg, she
seemed to have the side effect of
vivid dreams.  GO SLOW with
this herb.  Caroline is 50 lbs so adjust accordingly.  About 50 mg
provides the perfect blend of excellent sleep and no waking from
dreams!